At Vogue's Future of Fashion conference on Thursday, the second-to-last speaker of the day was one of the industry's most buzzed-about names: Demna Gvasalia, the founder and head designer of Vetements, as well as the artistic director of Balenciaga, a role he took on in October 2015. The topic of his discussion with editor Sarah Mower was "disruption," a term that's often used to describe his rapid industry ascent after releasing his first collections of oversize hoodies, ripped denim and reworked T-shirts that incorporate a wide range of subcultural and sociological references.
Since taking the helm at Balenciaga, Gvasalia's main objective has been to analyze the history of the couture house and interpret it in a modern way, rather than simply "disrupting" it. The result has been collections that incorporate tailored workwear, draped dresses, exaggerated proportions and sculptural silhouettes, but that are still desirable (and wearable) for the everyday luxury customer. In his short time there, he's introduced his fair share of cult-favorite statement pieces, including items adorned with a very conspicuous take on the Bernie Sanders logo that debuted on the Fall 2017 men's runway.
However, the designer's motif was not meant to be a political statement at all. "To be honest, the collection was not inspired by Bernie Sanders, it was inspired by [all things] corporate," Gvasalia explained. The runway show incorporated the "Bern-lenciaga" logo on puffer coats, vests, sweatshirts and more, and even included a tongue-in-cheek hoodie screen printed with the Kering logo — a nod to the luxury conglomerate that owns Balenciaga. "One of the things we wanted to create was a logotype that gave a corporate vision very vividly. In my research, Bernie Sanders's was most present at that time; that's why it resembles it so directly and obviously I was very aware of it. I wanted it to be [similar] — that was my message with this collection."
In addition, Gvasalia addressed his fascination with the intersection of where "ugly things become beautiful" — a good example of which are the infamous spandex "pant boots" that have become a street style favorite. "They're tights with boots built into them," he said with a smile. "They're very impractical, but it looks hot." Mower asked whether they were initially inspired by fetishes, as Vetements presented one of its first collections in an actual "sex dungeon," the basement of Le Depot, a well-known gay sex club in Paris. But Gvasalia's response was much more vague: "There wasn't a particular source where they came from, but they're easy to put on. There are other difficulties with them... taking them off is sometimes an issue."
Homepage photo: Imaxtree